Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! WEDI Offering Free ICD-10 Webinar

WEDI is offering a complimentary ICD-10 webinar series for those entities that need assistance in either getting started or continuing on with their ICD-10 implementation.  The first of the series, The Guide to Jump Start Your ICD-10 Compliance Effort, is scheduled for February 21st at 11am EST.  This is great information for those starting ICD-10 assignments or who would just like to know more about it.

For more information, click here.

Health IT and What Will All of This Work Ultimately Do?

 

In the consulting business, we tend to just focus on one assignment at a time.  While we may mutter under our breaths our frustration of clients whose different departments work in a silo, we all have to look in the mirror a bit sheepish.  HITECH, ICD-10, HPID, Operating Rules, EMR, CAC….all the different projects, initiatives, and mandates can fill the entire Pacific ocean!  Being in the weeds, it can be hard to wonder what all of this is for, how it will benefit any of us in the long run.

Believe it or not, the myriad regulations, initiatives, and mandates are all here for a reason.  I’ve been hearing for years from the folks who came from telecom, banking, and the transportation industry that EDI has been around for decades and decades.  Healthcare was one of the last industries (and the largest sector of our overall gross domestic product, by the way) to move away from paper and towards a standardized electronic transaction format.  Reliance on paper in the administration of healthcare is not only time-ineffective (I think I made up that phrase) but also extremely cost-prohibitive and not good for the greater good of our country.  Read this interesting article from an attendee of a national meeting with the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (HIT), a health IT agency within the federal government.

 

Healthcare.gov and Microsoft: What’s the Connection?

 

The federal government has hired former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene to be the new Czar of healthcare.gov.  What’s interesting is this former McKinsey & Co consultant is a software engineer by training.  This means a non-political/policy person will be driving the continued improvements to this website.

Read more about this here.

 

HIPAA Privacy and Security Breach Enforcement: Does Anything Ever Happen??

Most of us have been in the health IT field for quite some time.  Some of us have even been around long enough to have implemented the original HIPAA transactions and provisions back in 2003.  One of the original provisions surrounded privacy and security.  As electronic transactions become increasingly common within what we do in healthcare, additional measures must be taken to ensure that PHI (protected health information such as name, SSN, DOB, and other sensitive and identifiable information) must be kept secure.

Is this all lip service?  Is anyone enforcing this?

The answer is no and then yes.  No, it’s not just a bunch of words.  Yes, the federal government is investigating potential breaches, and more importantly, levying fines to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

One lost thumb drive w/patient PHI from a dermatology practice in New England?  $150,000 fine.  A leased photocopier w/thousands of documents w/PHI from a New York payer?  $1.2 million fine.

The magnitude of these judgments should make us all be a little more aware the next time we are asked by our clients to undergo HIPAA Business Associates training.

 

What Does Meaningful Use Mean?

Although Axiom has a heavy payer focus, it’s always a good idea to know a little bit more of what is going on the provider side of the industry.

The federal government mandated the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) for use by physicians and hospitals that take federal medical payments, e.g. Medicare and Medicaid.  Not only did these eligible providers have to install a certified EHR, they was a secondary set of criteria called Meaningful Use, or MU in short.  

Click here to read more about the 3 different stages of MU, the timeline for each stage, and what is covered.